Spencer Museum of Art The University of Kansas

Welcome to the Spencer Collection

mmuo mask
  • unknown Onitsha maker
  • mmuo mask, early-mid 1900s
  • Where object was made: Nigeria
  • wood, clay, pigment, gum resin, carving
  • Object Height/Width/Depth: 30.5 x 20 x 13 cm
    Object Height/Width/Depth: 12 x 7 7/8 x 5 1/8 in
  • Gift of Mr. and Mrs. H. Kenneth Palmer
  • Not on display
  • 2007.2965

The mask depicts a human face with a white face. The large forehead is decorated with two bands of sawtooth, each white on top, black on bottom, and separated by a thin black line. There is a raised circle between the eyebrows. The forehead projects out over the eyes, with a thick white line over the thinner black eyebrow. The eyes themselves are cutouts. There is a black line down the ridge of the nose and around the bottom, which continues out across the cheeks. There is a black line between the nose and upper lip, joining with the black lips, which are slightly open, though there are no teeth. There is no chin to speak of.

The oval band around part of the face may be a repair. There are thick clumps of resin at the joint between the band and face.